Be There, Show You Care

Young boy embracing his grandfather sitting in grass
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How can you support your extended family members, including those in the next generation? Here are some practical ideas.

Interested 

Demonstrate genuine care and concern for your family. Choose a method of regular communication — whether calling, writing notes or making visits. Use these opportunities to better understand your family members; ask questions and listen carefully.

Tip: If keeping track of details or dates is difficult, get a journal or pocket calendar and jot down reminders.

Involved

Respond to the things you’re learning about your relatives. Instead of waiting to be asked, anticipate ways you can act. Is there an event you can attend or a need you could meet? Does someone long for a listening ear? Respond in ways that are appropriate for you and those you seek to encourage.

Tip: Depending on the needs of your family, it might not be easy to know the best way to respond. Seek wisdom and practical advice from a trusted source outside the family, such as a pastor, friend or mentor.

Without an agenda 

It’s natural to want your love and support to be received well, to accomplish much and to be reciprocated. But looking for good returns can sidetrack us from offering the sincere, selfless love that marks our faith.

Tip: Don’t be discouraged if your efforts feel forced at first or if the reception seems cold. Depending on family history and dynamics, it may take time to adjust, build trust or reconnect.

Pray 

Nothing is more powerful than supporting your family members — especially the next generation — through prayer. Be intentional: Ask how you can pray, and let them know you are praying. Keep a record of God’s work in your family, and make it a point to share news of God’s blessings with the younger generation.

Tip: Are there other Christ followers in your family? Consider gathering as a group to pray, or partner with one other family member to share prayer needs.

Get going — and don’t stop. 

Remember, it’s never too late to start supporting your family — and it’s always too early to stop. Proverbs 3: 3-4 says: “Let love and faithfulness never leave you. . . . Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” Seeking to love and support your family faithfully will make a tremendous difference—today and for years to come.

This article originally appeared on ThrivingFamily.com in 2010. If you enjoyed this article, read more like it in Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. Get it delivered to your home by subscribing for a gift of any amount.

Copyright © 2010 by Janine Petry. Used by permission.

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